It’s not one thing, it’s a confluence
No one can survive by themselves
Community has to be rebuilt; family has to be redefined
Love can save the day
A pandemic is just a pandemic, but when a pandemic triggers economic collapse and economic collapse sends the privileged into seclusion reinforced by violence, and scarcity causes people to turn on each other instead of supporting each other, and the government cracks down through totalitarianism, that’s when things get truly dystopic. We’re not there yet and we don’t have to go there quite yet!
So, here’s a few of my favorite reads where the lessons of dystopia are actually quite optimistic!
Check out Octavia Butler’s series: Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents for a story that hits a little too close to home (minus the pandemic). Despite the chaos of “The Pox,” people are able to build a better future by embracing new ideas and taking care of each other.
Check out Sherri L. Smith’s Orleans for a story about what happens when Delta Fever causes a wall to be built isolating the Delta region of Orleans from the Outer States. The ending is not exactly “happy,” but it depends upon how you read it!
In Lauren Oliver’s series--Delirium, Pandemonium, and Requiem—love is considered to be a disease. But not everyone is willing to give up this disease for the illusion of safety. Some critics read the ending of this novel as a reinforcement of heterosexual romance; I read it as a call to tear down old structures and re-build new ones. And to open our hearts even when it is scary to do so.
Stay tuned for more examples of how the Girls on Fire of YA dystopia can help us save the world!